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A guide to finding Nova Scotia’s best fall foliage 

Paint the town red (and orange and gold) with this guide to finding the full spectrum of autumn’s colours.

Shubie Park offers a scenic stroll. - LAURA HAWKINS
  • Shubie Park offers a scenic stroll.
  • LAURA HAWKINS

Autumn is arguably the most visually stunning season of the year in Nova Scotia. Our landscape of rolling hills and valleys, blanketed by deciduous and evergreen trees, makes a spectacular canvas for the change to unfold. 

Maple, birch, oak, beech and ash create a rich pallet, with hues ranging from vibrant crimson and near-fuschia to orange, gold, delicate yellows and copper. Even low brush transforms with a red glow. While the entire province lights up with colour, one doesn't need to stray far from Halifax to enjoy this season in all its glory—although if you can, you absolutely should!

The key to finding great spots to take in the foliage is, of course, identifying places with a variety of trees and brush—and perhaps most importantly, places that offer perspective. In many cases, that means finding woods with an elevation or a body of water to fully appreciate the canopy.

This colourful time of year doesn't last long—mid-October is when foliage tends to be the most vibrant in Nova Scotia—so take advantage while you can (and let's all keep our collective fingers crossed that this year's foliage hasn't been dulled by Hurricane Dorian).

Shubie Park, 54 Locks Road, Dartmouth
This popular park nestled in the heart of Dartmouth offers an easy, scenic stroll right in town. The crusher dust trail circling the lake features plenty of vantage points to take in the changing colours along the water's edge.


click to enlarge LAURA HAWKINS
  • LAURA HAWKINS

Susies Lake, Bayers Lake
A rugged trail that starts behind Kent (yes, really) leads to a granite outcrop and panoramic look off over the lake. Take in the view, including multicoloured trees and red brush contrasting with the water and sky. For an even greater dose of colour, time your hike with the sunset—this is one of the best places in the city to catch it.


Admiral Lake Loop, Musquodoboit Harbour
This wilderness trail is connected to the Musquodoboit Trailway and eventually leads uphill (steeply, in some places) to several look offs. The scenery is beautiful year-round but comes alive in autumn with vistas of tree canopy, lakes and Musquodoboit Harbour in the distance. 


The Lookoff, North Mountain, Canning
No hiking required! Pull off the side of the road to enjoy this popular, well-marked and literally named Lookoff. Providing a spectacular view of the Annapolis Valley, see dozens of farmers' fields—grown, turning gold and edged by trees with changing leaves—with the Minas Basin and Wolfville in the distance. 


click to enlarge LAURA HAWKINS
  • LAURA HAWKINS

Mersey River, Kejimkujik National Park
Surrounded by a spectrum of vivid maple trees, explore this gorgeous river by foot or canoe. Several walking trails are located along different points of the river, including one with access to Mill Falls. Canoe and kayak rentals are available at Jakes Landing to take in the scenery by water.


click to enlarge LAURA HAWKINS
  • LAURA HAWKINS

Cabot Trail, Cape Breton
There are dozens of incredible hiking trails and lookoffs around every turn—even just driving the Cabot Trail means experiencing kaleidoscopic colour and scenery—but some of the best vistas can be found on foot. The Acadian, Aspy, Cape Smokey and Franey trails are among the most jaw-dropping in terms of look offs to highland-covered canopy.

Make a point this fall to get outside, soak up the crisp air, and revel in the beauty this season has to offer while the fleeting colours last!

To share your foliage-hunting photos, join other Nova Scotians using the #NSleafwatch hashtag. I’ll be posting all of my autumn adventures on Instagram @lauraahawkins and my blog, so connect with me and let me know your favourite places to experience fall.

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